The Pamplin College of Business has launched two new centers to support research, teaching, and outreach in business intelligence and analytics, and in entrepreneurship.

The Center for Business Intelligence and Analytics is led by accounting and information systems professor Weiguo (Patrick) Fan, who serves as director, and business information technology professor Terry Rakes, who serves as associate director.

The center, Fan said, will be an interdisciplinary resource in the growing field of “big data” — a range of activities connected to data-intensive decision making.

“In business, systematic analysis — both quantitative and qualitative — of vast collections of data for planning and decision making has assumed a central place in management.”

Business analytics, he said, brings together both information technology tools and business concepts and theory to improve business performance.

The center has four immediate goals:

  • Develop an interdepartmental minor in business intelligence and analytics that would be available to all Pamplin students and enhance the offerings in analytics to master’s and Ph.D. students;
  • Provide financial and data resources to Pamplin faculty pursuing research in areas related to business analytics;
  • Build cooperative research relationships with groups, including other academic units on campus, engaged in big data research; and
  • Work with business, nonprofit, and government organizations to develop service learning, case competitions, certification programs, and other experiential opportunities for business students in areas related to business analytics.

The center’s long-term objectives, Rakes said, are to expand Pamplin faculty participation in sponsored research related to business intelligence and analytics, particularly by interdisciplinary project teams, and to establish an industry advisory board that can lead to enhanced financial support for the center, internships and employment opportunities for students, and research sponsorships for faculty.

Joining the center as founding sponsor is Deloitte, which will also serve as an advisory board member. Through its Deloitte Analytics program, Deloitte will work directly with the center to further its long-term objectives. Additional sponsors are expected to join over time.

Pamplin faculty, Fan said, have expertise and interests in a range of relevant application domains, including business strategy, finance, health care, marketing, quality management, revenue management, risk and compliance, social media, and supply chains.

Learn more about the Center for Business Intelligence and Analytics, including the distinction between its intelligence and analytics areas of focus, in Pamplin’s spring 2014 magazine, Virginia Tech Business.

The college is seeking a director for the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The center seeks to educate students about entrepreneurship and involve them in entrepreneurship activities.

Its initial focus will include teaching courses related to entrepreneurship and managing curricular programs, including the college’s entrepreneurship minor and the university’s “Innovate” living-learning community.

The center also aims to serve as a resource for outreach to the business community and support faculty research related to entrepreneurship, technology commercialization, and new venture formation and growth. For more information about this center, please contact Kent Nakamoto, Pamplin associate dean for research.



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